Conspiracy theories

Every once in a while I find out that people I know harbor conspiracy theories. These are often people who otherwise seem rational and sane.

But if you get them on certain topics, it’s like being dropped into the Upside Down from Stranger Things. Evidence, reasoning, cause and effect, Occam’s razor, all of those things fly out the window.

And there is not point trying to have a discussion with people about their conspiracy theories. If you start pointing out simple and obvious facts to them, they might just decide that you too are part of the conspiracy.

I remember being at a scientific conference not long after the 2001 attack on the World Trade Center. One of the scientists there, an otherwise reasonable seeming person who was respected in his field, tried to convince the rest of us that the entire attack had been engineered by the Bush administration.

I remember thinking that Bush 43 wasn’t clever enough to do such a thing. And beyond that, I pondered the impossibility of everybody in that dysfunctional administration being able to keep something like that a secret.

But I soon realized that there was no point in continuing the discussion. It seemed that this man was not talking about a rational theory, but rather expounding something like a religious belief.

And I learned a long time ago that you don’t try to talk people out of their religious beliefs. No matter how crazy they are.

One thought on “Conspiracy theories”

  1. Mick West of Tony Hawk Pro Skater fame has written a good book on the subject called “Escaping the Rabbit Hole: How to Debunk Conspiracy Theories Using Facts, Logic, and Respect”. I highly recommend it if someone you know has gone a bit too deep for their own good and you’d like to help them surface.

    The problem is of course that they might be right 🙂 But at least you’ll have an exciting new hobby.

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